Derek Slater from the EFF (via Boing Boing):
“We’ve got 24 hours to stop the NSA wiretapping bills in the Senate and let cases like EFF’s lawsuit against AT&T proceed in the traditional court system. Worse still, now some of your Congressional representatives are trying to sneak a dangerous surveillance proposal into the Port Security Bill. If your representative is on the list in this post, call them IMMEDIATELY to oppose the NSA spying program.
“The amendment is so bad, I’ll let it speak for itself: “no action, claim, or proceeding shall lie or be maintained in any court … against any person for an activity arising from or relating to the provision to an element of the intelligence community of any information … in connection with any alleged communications intelligence program that the Attorney General or a designee of the Attorney General certifies, in a manner consistent with the protection of State secrets, is, was, or would be intended to protect the United States from a terrorist attack. This section shall apply to all actions, claims, or proceedings pending on or after the effective date of this Act.”
GameTrailers has a new trailer up for Bioshock, a next-gen FPS that’s shaping up to be both a very innovative and controversial title. The underwater city that Irrational Games has created is amazing looking, sort of Bladerunner meets Jules Verne. They have a guy who works full-time on programming water effects.
You know you’re living in the 21st century when a device which allows you to automatically scan books into a computer can be made from a children’s toy building set. That’s what you get via this link — detailed instructions for building a fully automated book scanner out of LEGO pieces. The import of this is stunning.
AnandTech has a great indepth review of the MX Revolution, the new Logitech mouse we blogged about last month.
Conclusion? They like it. A lot. But it’s really expensive (at US$100) and the bleeding edge tech it uses is more an “exercise in what could be accomplished, not what should be.” They end with: [The MX Revolution] “is the world’s most advanced mouse, but is it the world’s best mouse? No. It is very close but not there yet.”
We’re trying to get a review unit to do our own testing of it.
In the interest of completeness and our ongoing coverage of goofball USB gadgets, we bring you the USB Kitty Sentinel. It may look like a cute cookie jar on grandma’s kitchen counter, but USB Kitty Sentinel is SO much more unsettling than that. Armed with several infrared motion sensors, it can detect when an “intruder” has entered your geekosphere. Once its sensors are tripped, USB Kitty goes on the feline warpath, shaking its shiny little faux ceramic head, and hissing and sputtering, scaring off whoever’s been pokin’ around your stuff. Of course, if they run away screaming, it’s probably because they think you’ve finally gone off the deep end and they’re rushing off to alert building security (or the company nurse).
Bill Higgins sent us a link to his LiveJournal pages about the Rocketbelt Convention that just concluded in New York and a link to his Flickr set on the con. The convention was in Niagra Falls (at the Niagra Aerospace Museum) and the conventioneers took a fieldtrip to the site of the Bell plant where the rocketbelt was invented and test-flown. Bill has some pics of that in the set.
Good stuff. Thanks, Bill!
Larry Smith, my former editor at P.O.V., and creator of the wonderful SMITH Magazine, has just come back from the world’s first Rocketbelt Convention in Niagra, NY. While there, he got this video of Harold Graham, the original Rocketman, strumming a Uke and singing wistfully of his “Rocketbelt Daze.”
[BTW: Larry was also the writer who did the piece for Popular Science on Rocketbelt Man, the builder from Mexico, that we covered a while back.]
Jalopnik has a piece on this amazing VW concept car, an outward repro of a 1963 VW Microbus, but inward it’s like all like 21st Century and stuff, with electric power, solar-paneled, with interactive all-digital instrumentation, video rearview, etc. Dude, I like, want one!
Here’s a clip from a 1983 documentary film on Survival Research Labs, filmed in the style of a 1950s science education film.
[Editor’s Note: No joy in embedding the YouTube vid here, so I just linked to it.]
Those Birkenstocked wonders over at Treehugger have a piece about a mobile phone industry initiative to add audio alerts to phones telling you when your phone is done charging. Apparently huge amounts of energy is wasted when the phone remains plugged in. To wit: If only 10% of the world’s mobile phone users unplugged their phones after charging, it would save enough power to provide energy to 60,000 European households for one year.